Title: The Promise of Amazing
Author: Robin Constantine
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Publication Date: December 31, 2013
Source/Format: For Review / eARC
Opening Sentence: “‘None of you are going to Harvard.'”
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Wren Caswell is average. Ranked in the middle of her class at Sacred Heart, she’s not popular, but not a social misfit. Wren is the quiet, “good” girl who’s always done what she’s supposed to—only now in her junior year, this passive strategy is backfiring. She wants to change, but doesn’t know how.
Grayson Barrett was the king of St. Gabe’s. Star of the lacrosse team, top of his class, on a fast track to a brilliant future—until he was expelled for being a “term paper pimp.” Now Gray is in a downward spiral and needs to change, but doesn’t know how.
One fateful night their paths cross when Wren, working at her family’s Arthurian-themed catering hall, performs the Heimlich on Gray as he chokes on a cocktail weenie, saving his life literally and figuratively. What follows is the complicated, awkward, hilarious, and tender tale of two teens shedding their pasts, figuring out who they are—and falling in love.
I love contemporary and I was so stoked to get into The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine because it seemed right down my alley. Interesting name, cute cover, promising synopsis… it was exactly what the doctor ordered. Mostly.
In fact, I went into The Promise of Amazing expecting something different than I got. I couldn’t tell you if that’s a good or bad thing, but basically I thought it was going to be less… pretentious than it was. That’s not to say the book was bad, but I felt like it had so much potential that slipped by the wayside.
I was pleased to realize it was more than your average contemporary romance where the biggest conflict is “I’m not sure if he likes me!”. That does exist in this book, but there are bigger things going on so it becomes less important. These “bigger things” (I’m so not telling you. Go read the book.) were actually sort of new to my reading life. I had never seen anything quite like it. They added a completely unexpected layer to The Promise of Amazing that I had no idea I was going to get.
As for the characters, as always I liked the smaller ones more than the main characters. Wren’s best friends were cute and fun. I loved the dynamic between all three girls, even if sometimes it was a little corny. I loved a guy named Eben the most, though. I wish I could have another story about him. Wren and Grayson themselves were decent characters, but I have some minor bones to pick with them. Overall they weren’t the defining factors that made me like this book, but everything mashed together kept me around.
All in all The Promise of Amazing wasn’t the best book I’ve read in 2013, but it was worth the time. I wanted a little more from it at times but I’m still satisfied with what I did get. If you’re into contemporary this is one to give a chance.
Rating: 3 of 5 stars
Robin Constantine is a born and bred Jersey girl who moved down South so she could wear flip-flops year round. She spends her days dreaming up stories where love conquers all, well, eventually but not without a lot of peril, angst and the occasional kissing scene.
Her YA debut, THE PROMISE OF AMAZING, will be released in 2014 by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.